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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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The Coming Anti-Christ: Jesus of Nazareth?
A Tragic Case of Mistaken Identity?


A Study of A Key Prophecy
Daniel's Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks


The Nature of Messiah's Work

The prophecy of the Seventy Weeks reveals in considerable detail the events of the last week. There was much for Messiah to accomplish in this time. According to those principles developed earlier in this exposition, the last week represented seven years of actual time, beginning about the year A.D. 27. The first aspect of Messiah's life during this time that is particularly striking is the reference to his cutting off. Not only does the prophecy reveal that Messiah was to be slain, or "cut off", but it establishes the time when this was to occur. The Messiah was to be cut off after the sixty nine weeks had ended. How long after?

To answer this question, it is helpful to consider one of Christ's parables.

(Jesus) spake also this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down (Luke 13:6-9)

This parable is not difficult to interpret, because some of the symbols such as the fig tree are used elsewhere in Scripture, and their meaning can be clearly established. The "man" is evidently God Himself, who through the miracles of Christ, performed by His power, was looking for a genuine reform on the part of the nation of Israel, the fig tree. The "dresser of the vineyard" is Jesus. The last year of Jesus' ministry saw renewed efforts to convince the people, including the demonstration of God's power in the resurrection of Lazarus, and later the resurrection to immortality of Jesus Himself. Yet the nation remained unresponsive to this absolute seal that Jesus was the Messiah, and was "cut down" from the special relationship it formerly held with God. It was therefore about the middle of the last week that the ministry of Jesus ended and he was cut off, for according to the parable his ministry lasted into a fourth year.

This conclusion is confirmed by other details revealed to Daniel, for the prophecy expressly states that it was in the midst of the (last) week (that) he (should) cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. If the death of Christ occurred in the middle of the seventieth week, it must have been the means by which the sacrifice and the oblation were brought to an end. Is this the conclusion of Scripture? Immediately coincident with the last breath of Christ, the veil of the temple was rent in twain, signifying that the Law of Moses, with all its institutions of sacrifice' had ceased to be the means through which God was to be approached. Explaining the importance of this event to the human race, the writer to the Hebrews says:

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins . . . Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; . . . Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh (Hebrews 10:4,8,19-20).

Christ's sacrifice accomplished what the animal sacrifices never could do, and put to an end the need for them to be offered. Before the death of Jesus, these sacrifices were an essential obligation of the worshippers' approach to God, but the death of Jesus caused this obligation to cease. Christ's sacrifice fulfilled the Law of Moses which ceased to be binding on those who would approach unto God after his death (Colossians 2:14, Galatians 5:1),

If Messiah's cutting off took place in the midst of the seventieth week, which, for the reasons we have advanced, is our conclusion, then there are still three and a half years to account for before the end of the seventieth week. The prophecy reveals that throughout the last week, Messiah would confirm the covenant with many. This covenant which Jesus confirmed is identified in Romans 15:8. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of Cod, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. Elsewhere these ancient promises, made to the patriarchs, are called the "covenants of promise" because the promises were simply the terms or conditions of the covenant (Ephesians 2:12). Having therefore scripturally identified the covenant Christ confirmed, another question may now be addressed: with whom was the covenant confirmed? The prophecy reveals that it was confirmed with "many". Jesus refers to this class of "many" at the institution of the breaking of bread. For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28). This class of "many" is also mentioned later in the prophecy of Daniel in connection with the resurrection of the dead. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2). It is made up of both Jews and Gentiles, for both classes shall attain to the resurrection, and for both Christ died. However, in the days of his ministry, Christ preached only to the Jews, as he himself stated: I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). Jesus, nevertheless, clearly believed and taught that there were others besides the Jews, his own nation, that were going to have the opportunity for salvation, and these others, the Gentiles, he called his "other sheep". And other sheep I have, which are not of this (Jewish) fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd (John 10:16). Now Jesus did not personally preach to the Gentiles--he did it through the agency of the apostles, especially Paul. Understandably the conversion of the first Gentile, a Roman centurion named Cornelius, caused great excitement among the early believers in Christ, who were all Jews. Great prominence is given to this event in the Bible--the whole tenth chapter of Acts. The reaction of Peter and those Jews who accompanied him is thus described: And they of the circumcision (the Jews) which believed, as many as came with Peter, were astonished because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:45). On carefully reading this account, it is noted that it was not because the Holy Spirit was poured out that the Jews were amazed-it was because the Gentiles were the recipients of it for the first time, showing they had been accepted by God and had been granted the same privileges as the Jews. The Gentiles could enter the covenant by being baptized, and thereby become heirs of the promises made to the Jewish fathers, which promises Christ had confirmed by his death.

When the of Peter's association with Cornelius reached the ears of the Jewish believers who had not been with him, they demanded an explanation of his action. After he addressed the Jewish believers they were satisfied with his conduct. When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. Many years later, Peter referred back to this event when addressing an assembly of the elders in Jerusalem. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel and believe (Acts 15:7). The emphasis that this event received shows what a radical change it constituted in God's dealings with the human race. Although it is impossible to prove that the conversion of Cornelius took place within three and a half years of Christ's death, because no date for it is given in Scripture, it appears to have occurred approximately at this juncture, for in this way and at this time the covenant was confirmed with many--Gentiles as well as Jews. The final week of the prophecy, the last seven years of the four hundred ninety years, ended, then, with the conversion of Cornelius, the first of many Gentiles to become an heir of the things covenanted to Abraham by oath.

The last portion of the prophecy concerns the desolation that was to come on Jerusalem and the Jewish people as a result of their rejection of their Messiah.. .. and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined . . . and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. The prophecy does not indicate that the desolation would occur within the seventy weeks; but it occurred later as a result of the action of the Jews against Messiah during this period. In both the book of Daniel and the gospel records, the destruction of the city and the temple is distinctly linked with the crucifixion of the Anointed One. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children (Matthew 27:25).

The Jewish mob who urged Pilate to crucify Jesus voluntarily accepted responsibility for the shedding of his blood. That their punishment for slaying the Son of God was to involve the loss of their city and temple is shown by a parable Jesus taught them late in his ministry. And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The Kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city (Matthew 22:1- 7). The king in the parable is God, whose son is Jesus; and those who were bidden to the wedding feast were the Jews. The king's servants were the apostles by whose labours the invitation was extended. Because the Jews took the life of God's son and refused to hearken to his servants, their city and their temple were leveled. History has shown that it was about forty years after the cutting off of Messiah that the city was destroyed and the temple burned by the Roman army. In the parable, however, the destruction is said to be carried out by the king's (that is, God's) armies. Titus, the Roman general in charge of the conquering army, and who led the final siege against Jerusalem, acknowledged: We have certainly had God for our assistant in this war, and it was no other than God who ejected the Jews out of these fortifications; for what could the hands of men, or any machines, do towards overthrowing these towers.(4) This pagan general unwittingly confirmed that God indeed used the Roman army as "his" army, to carry out His will in punishing His people, exactly as the parable stated.

History has shown the prophecy of the seventy weeks to be accurate in another minute particular. The prophecy foretold that it would be "the people of the prince that shall come and destroy the city and the sanctuary" as distinct from the prince himself. Titus, the Roman prince in command of the operation, wanted and endeavoured to save the city and the sanctuary.

I appeal to the gods of my own country, and to every god that ever had any regard to this place (for I do not suppose it to be now regarded by any of them); I appeal to my own army, and to those Jews that are now with me, and even to you yourselves, that I do not force you to defile this your sanctuary; and if you will but change the place whereon you fight, no Roman shall either come near your sanctuary, or offer any affront to it; nay, I will endeavour to preserve your holy house, whether you will or not.(5)

However, it had been decreed long ago that the people of the prince, whether the prince willed it or not, would destroy the sanctuary. This is what actually occurred:

. . . but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself. At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried only by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward the Jews made a great clamour, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered any thing to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard about it.

And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire; after him followed all his commanders, and after them followed the several legions, in great astonishment; so there was a great clamour and tumult raised, as was natural upon the disorderly motion of so great an army. Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire; but they did not hear what he said, though he spake so loud, having their ears already dimmed by a greater noise another way; nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand either, as still some of them were distracted with fighting, and others with passion; but as for the legions that came running thither, neither any persuasion nor any threatenings could restrain their violence, but each one's own passion was his commander at this time; and as they were crowding into the temple together, many of them were trampled on one by another, while a great number fell among the ruins of the cloisters, which were still hot and smoking, and were destroyed in the same miserable manner with those whom they conquered: and when they were come near the holy house, they made as if they did not so much as hear Caesar's orders to the contrary; but they encouraged those that were before them to set it on fire.(6)

Although this exposition of the prophecy of the seventy weeks has not touched upon every detail, it has shown how some of the most important parts were exactly fulfilled. The Messiah came at the precise time indicated by the prophecy; he was put to death, thereby ending the Mosaic institutions; salvation was opened to the Gentiles and the everlasting covenant was confirmed with them; and the unbelieving and unrepentant nation of Israel was destroyed and scattered by the Roman desolator. This prophecy is a remarkable testimony to the truth of the scriptures, for all these things were foretold about six centuries before they occurred.

At the outset, the reader was encouraged to ponder whether Antichrist figured at all in the prophecy. Is it not through and through a prophecy about "Messiah the Prince"? It tells us when he should come; what he should accomplish for men; that he should be slain; what the effect of his death should be; and it tells us of the ensuing desolation of the Temple on account of the Jewish refusal to believe, undertaken by a pagan prince who unknowingly carried out the will of God. These are the main features of the prophecy, and they make no provision for the work of an Antichrist.

It must come as a surprise, therefore, that a book is described as "the classic work of the marvelous prophecy of Daniel about the Antichrist and the Seventy Weeks."(7) What could be plainer than the content of the prophecy itself that it is about "Messiah the Prince"? Yet it is the prevailing view that this prophecy concerns the Antichrist, an evil man not yet manifested in the earth. This modern interpretation is entirely erroneous and thus dangerous, because it confuses Christ and his great work and sacrifice with an imaginary worker of iniquity. Let us consider why the modern view cannot be sustained, and ought to be rejected.

The modern view can be summarized by the following diagram.

dia 3

DIAGRAM #3 (larger version):
The Modern Evangelical Interpretation of The Seventy Weeks Prophecy
Which Received its Impetus From Sir Robert Anderson's Book
The Coming Prince (issued in 1881)

There are three major objections to this interpretation or slight variations on it.

1. The phrase "unto Messiah the Prince" signifies neither the birth nor death of Jesus, but the time of his anointing, when he rightfully assumed the title, "Messiah". Thus, it is incorrect to mark the end of the sixty ninth week with the death of Messiah.

2. "After seven, threescore and two weeks" is taken to mean "at the end of sixty nine weeks" but this the prophecy does not state. "After" indicates some time beyond the end of the sixty ninth week, and the prophecy indicates that it was in the midst of seventieth week when the "cutting off" would occur.

3. The last week is said to be separated by centuries from the other sixty nine, and is supposed to be the seven year reign of Antichrist still in the future. Antichrist is to cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease; but first, he must allow them to start, as they do not now exist; and so he must first rebuild the Jewish temple, make a covenant with the Jews, and break the covenant in the midst of the week. After the three and a half years, he begins persecuting the Jews. All these basic tenets of the Antichrist theory arise out of the misinterpretation of one verse in Daniel 9, verse 27. First, the verse is speaking about Messiah the Prince of the previous verse, and not about Antichrist; so it is only by removing the verse from its context that Antichrist can be read into it. Second, the covenant was to be confirmed with many--a term implying others besides Jews--and thus cannot be limited to the nation of Israel. Third, the covenant was to be confirmed, not made; which implies it was already in existence. This is easily understood when it is recognized that it was the covenant made with Abraham that is being spoken of, which Christ confirmed. Fourth, there is nothing in the prophecy that even remotely suggests that the weeks do not represent a consecutive time period. Thus, there is no basis for separating the last week from the previous sixty nine by over nineteen centuries. This was simply an invention of the Antichrist theorists for which there is no scriptural support whatever.

It may well amaze the reader that such an idea as the Antichrist theory could be derived from a prophecy exclusively about Christ. Perhaps it is easier now to see why so many of the similarities of Part I exist between Christ and Antichrist-because scriptures which reveal the former are mistakenly applied to the latter, of which the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks is but one clear example. How, then, could so many people be deceived and come to believe in a theory of which God's word knows nothing?-This is a question whose answer must be deferred to Part III.

References to the phamphlet.


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